Hilary Rosen Was Right About Ann Romney…Sort Of

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Romney

The way Rosen said what she said was clumsy and inartful. There’s no doubt about that. That’s why so many Dems are backing away from her comments, including Obama.

But, as the title suggests, she’s right. Sort of. Because she was talking about actual work. You know, the kind we measure and report and obsess over every month? Yeah, that kind.

Still, given the way she said it, it appears as if Rosen is saying that raising children isn’t work. Of course it is, and I doubt that’s what Rosen meant. Her friend Greta Van Sustren backs that up…

In making that remark about Mrs. Romney and her choice to raise a family and not work outside the home simultaneously, I know Hilary knows raising children is hard work, really hard work…the absolute hardest work. Hilary has children. That is the best way to know the challenge of raising children – have them! Hilary is not anti-stay-at-home mom.

I did not read Hilary’s comments to in anyway take away from the hard chore of raising children or staying at home and raising them and not working outside the family. I read it to mean that raising children without financial pressure is easier than having financial pressure.

Well put Greta, but I think there’s something else missing in your argument. The idea of choice.

Listen, I have a TON of respect for women who decide to stay at home and raise children. One day I hope to have children of my own and I’d hope my partner would stay at home to raise them…or vice versa. Yes, I’d love to be a stay at home dad. That would rock and I would be awesome at it. True story.

But having children is a choice. Having an actual “job” and making your way in the world is not. Well, at least for most people. There are some trust fund babies out there who don’t have to work if they don’t want to, but they’re few and far between.

So yes, while the way Hilary Rosen made her point almost invalidates it, the idea that having children is an actual job that compares to going to work at McDonald’s is just not correct. Because, if it is, we should measure the economic benefits of being a mom (or dad) and add those folks to the numbers of gainfully employed.

But if we’re not willing to do that, well, being a mom isn’t a job. Not in the technical sense. And that’s what Rosen meant.

I welcome your thoughts.


This entry was posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2012 and is filed under Romney. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

17 Responses to “Hilary Rosen Was Right About Ann Romney…Sort Of”

  1. Tully Says:

    Nice try. Ok, not really. Feeble apologetics for an insulting, demeaning, and contemptuous utterance from a partisan pit bull trying to draw blood.

  2. Justin Gardner Says:

    The way she said it was insulting and demeaning, yes. There’s no doubt about that. The substance of the argument, however, remains.

    Are you really saying that when Rosen said “work” she didn’t mean “job?” Because I think it’s pretty clear, in the context of the interview, that this was the point she was making. Just like when Mitt Romney was talking about how he liked to fire people, that was in context of him firing insurance companies, not actual people.

  3. Tom Nicholson Says:

    I agree with you Justin. When she said “She has never worked a day in her life” I’m sure she was intending to paint Romney in a bad light for using his wife as a resource when she doesn’t work outside the home. If only she had inserted those three words “outside the home” and been a bit clearer in her statement she could have avoided some of this. But in reality, she probably will end up alienating female voters who are stay at home moms and take pride in what they’re doing.

  4. khaki Says:

    Bottom line is she fell into a trap by going after the candidate’s wife directly, instead of going after the candidate himself for cowardly pushing his wife to the forefront on an economic topic. She had a clear shot at the candidate and aimed at the wife instead. Dumb.

  5. cranky critter Says:

    Two points, both true:

    1. Motherhood is far too important a job to demean

    2. Ann Romney has led a cloistered life and so has a weak understanding of the nature of the challenges faced by those whose lives are very different

    Rosen deserves the shunning she’s getting for such a nasty comment. That doesn’t mean that Ann Romney understands the travails of regular folks particularly well.

    Whet Mitt Romney was running in MA (IIRC it was the 1st time. for senator, not governor), Ann Romney sought to relate to the struggles of young people by telling about how when she and Mitt were in college, it go so bad that they had to consider selling off some of their portfolio.

  6. Justin Gardner Says:

    Good commentary. As I mentioned, I think the way Rosen said it was dumb, but as cranky points out, Ann Romney doesn’t realize the stresses that the vast majority the rest of the world feels.

  7. Tully Says:

    Which is entirely irrelevant, Justin, and pointedly highlights the dogmatic liberal-feminist maxim that taking care of the family is not “real” work, and that stay-at-home-moms are somehow less than “real” women. At best, it boils down to “hate rich people who never had to scrounge.”

    Do spare me your psychic interpretations of what Rosen “meant.” She said what she said. It was insulting, demeaning, stupid, damaging and arrogant. Rather than letting her take her well-earned lumps and moving on, the True Believer left is trying to spin and rationalize and justify and defend the remark. This violates the first rule of holes — when in one, quit digging.(I urge them to keep it up. They are doing Romney an enormous favor with a key demographic previously alienated by the AngryJesus right that backed Gingrich and Santorum.)

    The saner Dem pols (the ones more connected with reality than ideo-wah-wah) have pointedly and openly tossed Rosen to the sharks. They know a hole when they see one. By contrast the ideo-left zealots are gathering shovels and seeking a backhoe. Unforced error.

  8. Tully Says:

    Khaki — also very true. I would further wager there’s a very neat divide in perception of the remark between those who have actually raised families and those who don’t have kids. The former understand the idiocy of Rosen’s remark very well indeed, and the desperate attempts to rationalize and refocus the gender slam to class warfare won’t change the impact of the remark on them.

  9. Jim S Says:

    Sorry, Tully, but you blew it on this one. I know you’ve become a hard core right wing true believer but you’re really pushing it on this. Here’s what Rosen said:
    ““What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future.”

    Where is the hatred? There is none. You’re the one playing psychic here and it’s complete BS, especially accusing others of doing it. Romney has consistently put his wife out there as some kind of expert on what the average American woman believes when she doesn’t really have a background similar to them or is really in touch with many, if any, outside of her circle of wealth and the Republican activists who would show up at one of her appearances. Frankly, I expect better of you than making hyperpartisan rants that are basically fact free and follow the Fox News line so well.

  10. Justin Gardner Says:

    Tully, believe what you want. The vast majority of what Rosen said was dead on. Without that one, unfortunate line in there, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    Long story short, the struggles of the Romneys are vastly different than the struggles of everybody else. And this is the type of discussion that happens when really rich people try to relate to the way that the rest of us live.

  11. mw Says:

    “Without that one, unfortunate line in there, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.” – JG

    Heh. I am reminded of a line of dialog from “Dr. Strangelove”. The President is berating the General in charge of the military for a mistake that results in a nuclear attack, triggering a doomsday weapon and the annihilation of the human race:

    General “Buck” Turgidson: Well, I, uh, don’t think it’s quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir.

  12. Mike A. Says:

    Since when did political correctiveness become important for the right?

  13. cranky critter Says:

    I hope no one sees what I said as a defense of Rosen. I am not agreeing that Rosen was “sort of right” to attack Ann Romney the way that she did. I reject the notion that raising 5 kids is “less than” when it comes to work.

    Rosen trafficked in a nasty and mean-spirited stereotype that’s simply wrong.

    And like both Tully and Khaki notice, Rosen foolishly went after the wrong target. Ann Romney should never have been made an issue. Mitt Romney used his wife as a device to try and slip by a little bit of a canard. It’s the canard that should have been attacked, not the device.

    Women are seriously concerned about economic issues, whether that’s claimed by Ann Romney or Bozo the clown. To suggest otherwise insults women. _AND_ women are concerned about other issues, ones Romney is trying to sweep off the table. To suggest women aren’t concerned by attacks on reproductive choice because the economy is lousy is JUST as insulting to women.

    Romney wants to talk only about economic issues, because it’s the only place he has any sort of semi-broad credibility. As soon as the subject moves away from economics, some substantial part of the audience starts to feel like Romney isn’t one of us. He feels awkward and evasive, like he’s eager to please but doesn’t know how. People sense this and don’t like it.

  14. Mike A. Says:

    From Romney, January of this year

    “I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”

    This quote addresses mothers on welfare, yet it still contradicts both his defense of stay at home moms and the need to reduce government spending.

    Regardless, it doesn’t address the root cause of this issue….the continued inability of middle class families to be able to support a family with only one income. Yes some can do it, and some sacrifice much to do so. But anyone who has tried to put several children through college without incurring crushing debt or burning through their retirement accounts can tell you, the upward mobility opportunities for middle class families has been severely reduced over the last 15 to 20 years.

  15. Exasperated Says:

    I can’t add much to what Cranky has posted, except that I see it as just another occasion for the yipping, yapping ankle biters to manufacture and benefit from faux outrage. I have no interest in defending the Romney’s, but frankly I thought Mitt Romney’s statement was rather innocuous and hardly a basis for any wild extrapolation. I certainly didn’t take away that he expected Ann Romney to replace the Council of Economic Advisors, but rather that she, like so many wives, is a valued sounding board. So what?
    Anecodotal, but having been a stay at home fulltime and parttime Mom for 30 years, I was annoyed by Ms Rosen’s remark despite whatever socioeconomic point she was trying to make, but certainly not enough to get my knickers in a twist.
    And, slightly off topic, I think it is a bizarre and fatuous pretense that all those women who leave their babies for 8-10 or more hours a day are off to rewarding, fulfilling, and meaningful jobs. I suppose the same applies to men.

  16. Justin Gardner Says:

    Folks, this isn’t about work being rewarding or fulfilling. It is the idea of being forced, by economic circumstances, to work outside the home to support your family. And I say forced because I’m sure many of us would like to stay at home to spend time with the kids…but we can’t.

    Again, Ann Romney has never had to have a job outside of the home b/c Mitt was the bread winner. So she doesn’t have an idea of what it means to be in the position most of us find ourselves in. Whether you like it or not, that’s the case and that was the point Rosen was making. It’s very clear from the context.

    And sorry folks…being a parent isn’t a job. It’s a responsibility. You make a choice to have kids, so now it’s up to you to raise them. It might feel like a job, and most people might call it a job, but in the context of an economic discussion about actual jobs…it doesn’t fit the definition.

  17. Tully Says:

    Nice try, Justin, but no cookie. Trying to redefine “work” as “employment under an employee/employer contract” is laughable as any self-employed person can tell you, being as they too lack such contracts. Come back and tell me how parenthood isn’t “work” after you actually have children. Until then be aware that to us parents you just sound like a quibbling idiot, or a kid trying trying to find a good reason he just HAD to steal that cookie.

    Rosen fucked up. She stuck her foot in her mouth and chewed her bunyans. She test-launched a meme for Obama and it crashed in flames. The only clue a non-TB needs to understand how badly the launch went is the speed with which party leaders and the Prez did the disassociation & retreat dance from their own attack dog. Calling fermented shad sides “caviar” does not turn them into tasty fish eggs no matter how you copy-edit the menu. And taking out more ads touting the dish is a loser.

    The target audience in national elections is the swing voters. The attempted identity-politics attack Rosen launched did not fly with swing voters, and the rationalizations are not flying either. They make things worse. So hey, keep digging! The Romney campaign thanks you.

    Yes, Jim, we already know that anyone to the right of YOU is “a hard core right wing true believer” in your eyes. Of course to the right of you covers 90+% of the voting public … maybe you should find some new ad hominems to play with.

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